tv U.S. Senate Sen. Risch on Iran War Powers Resolution CSPAN February 13, 2020 8:25pm-8:39pm EST
even as it is amended now. there is no price for aggression and it would teach them the deterrence and leave our troops, diplomats and citizens vulnerable. nobody wants that. with that i yield with the flo floor. >> mr. president, we are about to vote on important piece of legislation and it's a piece of legislation that will never become law and but nonetheless it deserves our attention and certainly deserves consideration. we know two things. number one under the constitution it is absolutely crystal clear that only congress can declare war and number two, which is crystal clear we know the president of the united states has the authority to defend the country and finally number three and this is very important as it relates to this no one, no one wants war with iran and no one agrees that we
should proceed to war with iran and that is simply not the situation here today. there are constitutional questions that we have to wrestle with and they are difficult ones. the it is important to note here, first of all, that the dispute that has been going on with iran for h a long time has nothing to do with the iranian people. we support the iranian people. they are and have a long history of proud tradition and they deserve substantially better than what they are getting in leadership today. this is an important debate we will have today about war powers in the use of military force and one of the things that is clear but that muddies the water and that is that there is no clear line of delineation between
actual war and the use of kinetic force. it is important to have this debate and i believe it should not be held in this context and it should be a policy we are debating that is usable in all contents and i have sat through hours and dozens of debate on war powers and it's an age-old debate that is going on since george washington was president and a hard debate and these words were written in the 18th century and things were a lot clearer then and things were much less clear today. these debates were long and many lawyers were involved and it is an area i've come to the conclusion that the words need
to be written in order to clearly specify the place that the president occupies in the place the congress occupies is a very, very difficult one. there are things on this earth and i really believe this may be one of them that we know it when we see it but we can't define it. we know more when we see it. we also know what is kinetic action in order to protect the people of the united states and is more isolated in the hands of the president doing defensive measures and we know it when we see it but defining the distinction between the two of whenf one blurs into the other s very difficult. and the president needs the authority he has two defend the united states. it is clear that authority comes from three buckets. number one, it comes from article two of the united states
constitution and it comes from the war powers act and [inaudible] that has been passed by this body for some time and iran and as you are listening understands that the president has that authority and has specific authority from all of m those buckets, not withstandia the arguments that are been made here by some members of the body but the president unquestionably has those powers. this power has been used very sparingly by this president compared to the last administration the numbers are indeed striking and the drone strike that has been taken then and now in the obama administration has 540 of them over eight years and in this particular administration they are very, very few and far between and can only be described as a handful. this is a president who abhors
the use of military force. i have had the opportunity to discuss it with him at length and i have been in the room when he is been confronted with these questions and had to make the decisions but he is deeply moved by these questions and understands how difficult they are when he talks about how he has to write letters to the men and women who did not come home about having to make those phone calls and about having to go to receive the remains of our brave men and women who did not make it home alive. he is deeply disturbed by these matters and i can tell you, as i said, having been there, when he had to make these decisions that these weigh heavily on him. so, what are we doing here tod today? it is not to rain out this president. he is not used power willie nilly as i have indicated and it is been very sparingly
despairingly in great contrast of the administration and what we are doing here today is get our arms around the question of when is it appropriate to use military force by the president and we all have our ideas on that and have the words the founding father left us and it is important. the unfortunate part is we are sending a message to iran and iran is listening. there is no question they are listening to this debate and listening to that the what people are saying here on the floor of the senate and one of the messages that will come out of this and the weight this is drawn is that we -- the drafters of this want to send a message of appeasement to iran. this has been tried.
it hasn't worked. the last administration bent over backwards to author appeasement to iran and they were greatly betrayed by it and it was tried with the jcpoa. it did not work and the reason it didn't work is we are not dealing with people here who are acting in good faith. what we need to do is we need to send a message of firmness and not weakness and at the end of the date when we are all done with it there will be such a message. it needs to be a consistent and uniformed message when it comes to messaging to iran and messaging on our foreign policy as it relates to iran. it will not be this wall that is before us because it will be vetoed grade we all know it will be vetoed. it takes a two thirds majority to override that. it is not going to happen. the mixed message is they are. iran will listen to it and the
hardliners will take it one way and other people will take it the other and that is not a good situation but hopefully we will be able to lay this out in a way that they cannot read between the lines and get the message because it is important. the president took action the people have criticized here that was difficult. it's a tough decision and it was a really bad guy, a guy who was worse than osama bin laden. he was the person that was executing iran malign policies in the world and in the region. his killings and loss of whim have become legendary in the world today. whenever i see one of our young men and women missing an arm or leg they owe that to general qasem soleimani who killed hundreds of people and was responsible for the ied program that took the lives of so many
and maimed so many of our men and women who were fighting in the middle east. he got to the point where he was wandering around really with impunity and not worried about what he was doing or that anyone would take action against him but let's look at the timeline he started by blowing up oil tankers and not nothing was done about it. the attack to the audie sortie fields where they were working and nothing was done about it and took down a drone of ours over international space and nothing was done about it and finally they ratcheted up for the fall 13 attacks on u.s. soldiers u.s. bases in iraq or these were men and women that we'd asked to go over there and push back against iran's attempted importation and 13 attacks they took and finally on
one of those attacks somebody was killed. the president already laid down the red line that if an american was killed there was going to be a price to pay. they finally kill that person and attacked our embassy in baghdad and attempted to set it on fire. so eventually the president made the choice to do what he did and this was in response to the continual pushing of the envelope from iran and the miscalculations that iran made. this man was traveling, general soleimani was traveling, place to place, putting in place final plans of coronation for the execution of an attack against american people and it was imminent. you've heard my friends here say that no, it was not eminence and we listened to the intelligence and i set on the intelligence committee.
i sat through all the briefings we were given that at the secret level and top-secret levels given to the people that are here in the body and i also sat through the ones given to the intelligence committee which were compartmented and much more granular. there was no doubt that this man was planning an imminent attack to kill americans. he did not get the chance. thank you, mr. president. thank you for what you did but we've heard the argument here that it wasn't imminent. this person was substantially more imminent danger to the united states of america and to americans then went osama bin laden was but when the president of the united states, barack obama, took out osama bin laden we all cheered him. in fact, we passed the resolution here 100-zero commended the president of the united states for what he did. today mr. president you heard us pass such a resolution thanking you and thank you, mr. president
and farewell, general soleimani. iran, do not miscalculate and read what is happening here as capitulation or weakness or appeasement. it is not, it is a disagreement between this branch of government and legislative branchut and our second branch f government the executive branch as to how we should defend ourselves but make no mistake about it we will defend ourselves. in america we operate under the rule of law. this bill in front of us that we are debating today will not become law, it will not be part of the body of law which we live by. it will be vetoed. iran taken note. if you continue on the path that you are on with your malign
activity it will take you to a very bad place. i urge a no vote and i understand how that will come out and i will be standing here again to sustain the president's veto and it will be sustained. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor. >> senate minority leader chuck schumer and other democratic senators held a news conference shortly after the vote on the iran or power resolution. the resolution passed 55-45. senator schumer told reporters it was a rare day in the senate and congratulated the bipartisan support of the resolution. president trump said he plans to veto the resolution which aims to stop him from using military force against iran without congressional approval. >> okay, good afternoon. thank you f